Due to its proximity to China, the language of Korea has long been influenced by Classical Chinese with it serving as the main writing system of the peninsula for centuries. It wasn't until the 15th century that a unique Korean language was developed. In approximately 1440 King Sejong the Great of Korea employed scholars to create a simpler writing system that would be better suited to Korean phonetics than previous systems adapted from Classical Chinese. The result of work was Hangul. However due to deeply entrenched traditions Classical Chinese remained the literary language of the scholarly class who comprised the majority of literate people of the time. It wasn't until the mid 20th century that Hangul rose in popularity, mainly due to a rapid increase in Korean nationalism following the end of World War 2 which saw the Japanese vacate the Korean peninsula.
Korean Hangul is a phonetic language consisting of 24 letters, separated into 14 consonants and 10 vowels, and is read from left to right. Letters are combined into syllable blocks, consisting of 2 to 3 characters, which are pronounced as a whole. Each block consists of at least one vowel and at least one consonant.